May 4, 2022 / 1 Comments

The Biddy Contract will have its first public reading on Saturday, May 14 at 1:45 at LaMaMa Galleria, 47 Great Jones Street, NYC. Tickets are free but limited. Reserve at Eventbrite:

I wrote this play about sixteen-year-old, Margaret Frances Rafferty who emigrates to the United States from Ireland to work as a maid for a wealthy New York family. It’s a historical fact that many young Irish girls came to the US to work as domestics as a way to escape the potato famine. It’s the only time in US history that young girls emigrated to the US alone and not for marriage.

Spring 2018

It’s a play I never intended to write. It grew out of an assignment for a writing class that I took in the spring of 2018 .I had to write a monologue for a marginalized person. I moaned about the assignment to my cousin and my producer because I didn’t know where to start. . She commiserated and our conversation moved on.  A couple of family stories came up and the light bulb went on. 

The Irish weren’t welcome immigrants and were often referred to as micks, monkeys and paddy. The young girls working as domestics were called Biddy regardless of their given name.

I had my assignment.  I knew it would be original but the class reaction surprised me.  “You must take this story further.” A year later it received the same reaction as a 10-minute piece that Crossways Theater presented as part of Women’s History month. I fell in love with Margaret Frances’ story.

I took it to the playwrights retreat at LaMaMa Umbria, Italy in 2019.  Lisa Kron, 2015 Tony Award winner for Fun Home facilitated.  We read the Book of Exodus for background to write plays that involved a journey, a power struggle and redemption. We didn’t spend too much time on the seven plagues.

That may have been a mistake!

Spring 2020

On March 8, 2020, I met my cast for the table read of my now full length play.  I brought soda bread to celebrate. In the previous two years. After rehearsal I went to a wonderful party for another LaMaMa Umbria playwright, we were excited for our reunion and our shows the following weekend.

On March 12, 2020, when Broadway went dark in the COVID lockdown so did my reading of The Biddy Contract. LaMaMa promised us another weekend.  Days, weeks and months passed.  A few rewrites occurred. 

In October 2021 a new weekend was chosen, in January of 2022. The availability of some cast members changed, prompting new auditions.   A table read was scheduled for early November, because of the revisions to the script and the new cast members.

I never met them.  The rehearsal was held on the day of my Mom’s funeral.  

Winter 2021

Winter 2021

The director and I discussed the questions that arose from that reading. I was back at work, confident that the delay meant that The Biddy Contract would be a stronger script Meanwhile, I offered to help with the program and ticketing for our now scaled back reunion weekend. 

“How are you?” Started the phone call from the LaMaMa coordinator.  We had texted and emailed as our correspondence. This call was unusual.

“It depends on what you say next. “

We both laughed but I knew Omicron cancelled us. It wasn’t a Christmas present I wanted.

Spring 2022

Once again, The Biddy Contract is scheduled for it first public reading on Saturday, May 14. As of this writing the rehearsals are scheduled and I’ll get to meet my cast. 

The Biddy Contract has been journey for me, a power struggle against nature and hopefully redemption. The show deserves it.

 Exodus has seven plagues but I believe in the adage, third time is the charm.

The Biddy Contract will have its first public reading on Saturday, May 14 at 1:45 at LaMaMa Galleria, 47 Great Jones Street, NYC. Tickets are free but limited. Reserve at Eventbrite:

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